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Laser Show


Science experiments in the oscillation of a single point of light !


Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Photo Gallery of Spiral Light Patterns


Section 1: IntroductionTo top of page.

An 'invisible' light beam is aimed at a surface to produce a spot of light. This single spot of light can be moved or oscillated so fast that the eye perceive the spot as continuous movement ! Amazing ! This mean that pictures or shapes may be created and displayed with only one single light beam, a laser beam ! Welcome to the spectacular world of LASERS !

The word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The radiation produced by the diode laser in the following science experiment is a visible red, with a wavelength in the region of 635nm-685nm. The atoms or molecules are triggered by a process of stimulated emission, releasing energy in the form of light. This light may be divided in coherent light and incoherent light. A coherent source of laser light is needed to create a three-dimensional laser hologram ! The dictionary describe the meaning of the word coherent as having a constant phase relationship in terms of waves.

Incoherent light may be described as an emission of photons at many different frequencies and intensities, thus varying randomly over a period of time. The photons of incoherent light may be at the same frequency but out of phase with each other or at different frequencies that can never be in phase with each other. The photons of incoherent light provide no uniform pattern with the high and low of each photon at random intervals.

Coherent light may be described as an emission of photons at a specific frequency and intensity, thus constant over a period of time. The photons of coherent light are at the same frequency and in phase with each other. The photons of coherent light provide a uniform pattern with the high and low of each photon at exactly the same interval.

Coherent LightIncoherent Light

The dictionary describe oscillation as the process of moving to and fro between points. In the photos presented below a single point of light (red laser beam 635nm-685nm) is reflected by four mirrors, each rotating 360° around its own centre axis and reflecting the photons of the laser beam onto a flat white surface where the result of the oscillations may be viewed or photographed. The photos were taken with the aid of a Sony® Cyber-shot digital camera.

The rotating mirrors are positioned in such a way that the laser beam enter the set of mirrors at an angle of 45°, reflect onto the 2nd mirror at an angle of 45°, reflect onto the 3rd mirror at an angle of 45°, reflect onto the 4th mirror at an angle of 45° and onto a flat surface to be viewed. Each mirror rotate 360° around its own centre axis by the use of a direct current electric motor. To change the speed of a rotating mirror the voltage applied to the direct current electric motor must be changed. An added build in feature is the ability to change the angle of each mirror so that more spiral light pattern shapes at different sizes may be generated. Ensure that the direct current electric motors are mounted on sturdy brackets, that all mirrors are clean of dust and that the rotating mirrors are adequately shielded from any human contact ! Higher quality motors perform best and may be interfaced to a microcontroller or an IBM compatible PC.

A number of factors determine the various shapes of the spiral light patterns generated:

  • The amount of mirrors reflecting the laser beam play a role in the various shapes of the spiral light patterns generated. The more mirrors used to reflect the laser beam, the more spiral light patterns may be generated. Keep in mind that more mirrors may reduce the strength or brightness of the laser beam.
  • The speed at which the mirrors oscillate or rotate play a role in the various shapes of the spiral light patterns generated.
  • The direction of rotation (using motors) of the mirrors play a role in the various shapes of the spiral light patterns generated.
  • The angle of the mirrors play a role in the various shapes and size of the spiral light patterns generated.

SAFETY FIRST ! Please note a word of caution, never stare directly into the laser when it is on ! All lasers are subject to government regulations ! When the laser is switched on, never look into the window of the laser even if no light is visible ! Ensure that the rotating mirrors are adequately shielded from any human contact !!!



Section 2: Photo Gallery of Spiral Light PatternsTo top of page.

PhotosPhotos
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern
Varying speed, angle and directionVarying speed, angle and direction
Photo of spiral light patternPhoto of spiral light pattern




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The last time this page was modified, was: 1:38 am, 15 Oct 2014

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Astronomy related links.
Science experiments in the oscillation of a single point of light !
Science experiments in electrophotography !
Science experiments with a lemon battery !
Links related to capacitors.
Links related to diodes.
Links related to LDRs.
Links related to LEDs.
Links related to voltage regulators.
Links related to resistors.
Links related to transistors.

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